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View Diary: What Grows Along Your Roadside? (95 comments)

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  •  I have used it both ways. It is a very good mood (4+ / 0-)

    enhancer for mild depression. The Jama went out of it's way to underplay the help St. John's Wort can be. I say that because I read the entire study. This is their abstract, which is really abstruse:

    To the Editor: Dr Shelton and colleagues1 found that St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) was ineffective to treat chronic major depression. St John's wort, however, is generally recommended for use in mild-to-moderate depressive disorders. From the study design, it is unclear whether any medication would have been effective in this sample since no patient received conventional antidepressant medications and an unusually low placebo response rate occurred (18.6%, as compared with the usual 30% to 50% placebo response in other trials on depression). We find no evidence in this study that precludes potential benefits for patients who were less severely and chronically depressed. In fact, according to one definition of remission, a significantly greater percentage of patients responded to St John's wort (14.3%) than to placebo (4.9%), even in this study.
    So let me break it down the way I understood it:
    Dr Shelton and colleagues1 found that St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) was ineffective to treat chronic major depression. St John's wort, however, is generally recommended for use in mild-to-moderate depressive disorders.
    Yes, that's the point. Most people don't need major pharmaceuticals, but a nice cut of tea with local honey and a handful of vitamins twice a day will make you feel so much better...(shhh don't say things that are not profitable to big pharma)
    From the study design, it is unclear whether any medication would have been effective in this sample since no patient received conventional antidepressant medications and an unusually low placebo response rate occurred (18.6%, as compared with the usual 30% to 50% placebo response in other trials on depression).
    This is a three-parter. 1.) "From the study design, it is unclear whether any medication would have been effective in this sample since no patient received conventional antidepressant medications"- That doesn't mean that it wasn't compared to any of the pharmaceutical or to Zoloft in particular. What that means is that in order to make it look like St. John's wort doesn't work twice as well as Zoloft in the standard dosage, they cut the dosage of everybody's medication basically in half, down to the lowest possible barely measurable clinical dose. Then they could also cut the actual comparable dosage in the St. John's wort tea in half, and therefore say that Gee, it doesn't appear to work. Have you ever been to a restaurant where they don't usually serve tea,  so they made a cup of tea out of the super-hot water faucet with some old stale tea bag they managed to come up with and thought that was an acceptable substitute for an actual cup of tea?
         That doesn't even explain how 2.) they managed to accommodate the fact that "an unusually low placebo response rate occurred (18.6%, as compared with the usual 30% to 50% placebo response in other trials on depression)". How on earth did they get the placebo to work half as well? 37% would have been right in the middle of the usual range...Someone needs to check the numbers on that one.
           And 3.) even after that fact, "In fact, according to one definition of remission, a significantly greater percentage of patients responded to St John's wort (14.3%) than to placebo (4.9%), even in this study." In other words, the people taking St. John's Wort felt better mentally and physically than all the people not taking it, whether they were on low-dose Zoloft or some kind of placebo that doesn't seem to have worked as well as usual. St. John's Wort people had better moods, fewer headaches and stomache-aches and less of all the other things that get reported as "side-effects" even if they are unrelated and just happen. St. John's Wort people just felt better than anyone else, and that was on one cup of weak tea when they should have had two- to three cups of strong tea during a day.

    My experience was that it turned a simple mean attitude of "I don't wanna" into "okay, did that, what's next?" No euphoria, just a simple step up in mood.

    As far as the scare of photosensitivity- yes, I tend to look red like a sun-burn just from being outside for a few hours but it subsides. Hubby and I have both found that effect from pharmaceuticals too, so it should not be thought of as such a big threat that oh noes- can't use that herb. They "found no evidence to preclude potential benefits-" nope, can't actually say it doesn't work or it's bad for you... (although as a detoxifier it apparently washes out the same medications that grapefruit exacerbates, so don't just go taking this herb at will if you are on other medications!)
         Meanwhile, what they don't tell you, but I found to be fairly consistent is that when the blood rushes to your skin, it also rushes to your genitals. So if they are looking for a female viagra, perhaps they should start there and lot's of women could be happier...

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:46:39 AM PDT

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    •  Doesn't that happen with more than a few studies? (4+ / 0-)

      Someone needs a specific outcome so they are designed to produce what's wanted.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:07:01 AM PDT

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      •  there was an NIH study that was reported on for (4+ / 0-)

        one day, but I got lucky enough to see it on the little headline crawl on the bottom. I believe these things are reported on lightly, so that no one could be accused of covering them up...see, we told you that once, even if it was in tiny print on the bottom of page A-23 back in 1992...

        but anyway, what our own National Institutue of Health, using our own tax dollars, discovered but did not trumpet from the roof tops, is that one or two cups of strong black regular tea, with or without cream & sugar, can cut a person's risk of heart attack by 30 to 50 percent.

        Part of the reason I didn't pursue a medical career is that I never saw a doctor prescribe "go home and drink 2 cups of tea a day, walk two miles a day, and call me in the morning six months from now- guaranteed you'll be healthier and feel better." No, it's "go home and take these pills, even though they have side-effects that could kill your liver, so remember to come back once a month for blood testing, and call us back if you don't feel good or if you have pain..."

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:25:30 AM PDT

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    •  A brilliant analysis (4+ / 0-)

      of an apparently biased study.
      .
      .


      For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

      by psyched on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:25:26 AM PDT

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